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Too little, too late: Windows 8.1 RT gets a Start menu

On the plus side, Microsoft isn't just throwing RT aside and forgetting about it.

Microsoft releases Start Menu for Windows RT
Dell is no longer selling its Windows RT tablet, shown here. Credit: Dell

Almost two years after it announced the demise of Windows 8.1 RT, Microsoft has released an update to the dead OS that adds a Start menu, something that might have helped the OS back when it shipped. But then again, that was a very different Microsoft. 

That update, called Windows RT 8.1 Update 3, is available through Windows Update. But instead of copying the Windows 7 or Windows 10 Start menus, Microsoft used the same Start menu that was found in early Windows 10 builds, called DirectUI. During the Windows 10 development cycle, Microsoft shifted to a XAML-based menu now available in the final product.

Other than the Start menu, Update 3 brings nothing new to Windows RT beyond a change to the lock screen options. After that, it's just bug fixes. Then again, the few users RT still has should appreciate getting anything at this point. RT was used in the early versions of the Surface tablet, which didn't get much traction. It wasn’t until Surface 3, with an Intel processor and x86 Windows, that things started to pick up for Microsoft’s tablet.

This is likely to be the last major update for Windows 8.1 RT. Microsoft has said that Windows RT devices would not be able to upgrade to Windows 10, but it did say there would be some features from Windows 10 coming to their devices. Obviously, this is it.

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